As irony would have it, rain ceased in the Dordogne the day we arrived home from Spain. And when I say 'ceased' I mean just stopped, went away, gradually became a distant memory. Temperatures have soared, we are in the thirties centigrade. Thunderstorms have been promised for tomorrow, Tuesday 23rd. On verra tout ça – this has been promised before.
The danger for us at La Chaise (very 'nombriliste' I know) will come if we do not have a steady and gentle down-pour in the very near future. So far the golf greens are still just that – very green. They are being watered by the Wonderful Arnold, with erratic assistance from the hated (by me – reciprocated by it) pump which is at last going to get a proper mend. Meanwhile the watering works on some mysterious 'siphon' effect between the Black Pond in the Woods and Lake Ariadne at the bottom of the valley with occasional help from town water. Don't ask – I think physics comes into it.
Oddly, the flowers that have suffered most from the heat and absence of rain are the cultivated roses. The yellow roses we planted in the old well usually make a glorious display. At present their stems are too frail to bear the heavy flower heads which break off and die. I have to rush out as soon as I spot a new bud and bring it in. Even then it only lasts a couple of days. The normally gloriously red, tough roses round the Farmhouse garden and the gîte swimming pool have lost their colour.
So far the grassland is not showing any cracks as it did in the year of the great 'canicule' of 2003. In parts it is still even growing. However the woodland is drying fast, presumably because of the water up-take by the trees. A few days ago, lunching on the terrace, I heard the crash of a breaking branch or falling tree in the woods. Quickly curious, I got up to go look see but common sense stopped me at the edge of the woods. Who wants to walk in the woods when the trees are throwing down branches? Hard hats needed for mushroom hunting – not that there will be any mushrooms if it does not rain. A local disaster.
But to compensate, the geraniums on the terrace are thoroughly enjoying this Mediterranean heat. They are a wonder. Never have they been so prolific, so luxurious, so triumphantly alive. This is their best display ever.